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Home » Campus News and Events » September 2010-University News Archive » 9-28-10, MCAN Grant Will Support Western U.P. College Access and Success

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MCAN Grant Will Support Western U.P. College Access and Success

HANCOCK, MI - The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) has announced that 14 Michigan communities will collectively receive more than $350,000 to support student access to and success in college.

Among the grant recipients is Finlandia University, which was awarded a 12-month $8,000 planning grant to develop a community-based local college access network in the western U.P. The network will coordinate programs, services, and resources that lower the barriers preventing students, particularly low-income and first-generation students, from pursuing postsecondary educational opportunities.

Grant coordinator Joe Zerbst will lead a team of community leaders to determine, through research, college access needs in the western Upper Peninsula. Zerbst is the director of Finlandia's Upward Bound program

Tentatively dubbed the Keweenaw College Access Network-or KCAN!-the group will also design a strategic plan to foster a college-going culture in the western U.P., deliver a comprehensive set of college access services, and ultimately increase the area's rates of college attendance and completion.

Represented on the planning group are community leaders in education, the nonprofit sector, business, government, and philanthropy. Their first meeting is October 22.

"I'm excited to bring this opportunity to the area," Zerbst said. "Expanding the reach of postsecondary education in the western U.P. area will ultimately improve the economic outlook for our communities."

MCAN works to dramatically increase Michigan's college participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income and first-generation students.

Funding from The Kresge Foundation and a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education made this round of MCAN Grants possible. The next round of grants will be awarded in March 2011.

For additional information about the Michigan College Access Network, visit

For information about the MCAN planning grant, contact Joe Zerbst at 906-487-7259 or